Wednesday, February 11, 2015

Migraines

I had a migraine this morning, which is why I'm later than usual with the day's first post.

Migraines, for people who don't know, are a horrible thing to experience. I'm super lucky in that that I only get one every few months, and it only lasts a few hours. Some people have migraines that last for two days or get them every other day. I don't know how they function.

If you're one of the people who thinks that a migraine is just a bad headache, stop that. Allow me to explain what they really are for the sake of everyone who experiences them.

Head pain is only one symptom of a migraine. Other symptoms include extreme sensitivity to light and sound, nausea and vomiting, extreme fatigue, slurred speech, visual distortion, and difficult with basic cognitive functions like thinking, or the loss of ability to read and write.

The pain is often the most noticeable symptom. It's a different kind of pain than a regular headache, and it's more extreme than most types of headaches. I've been known to writhe in pain from migraines, which sucks because moving around only makes it worse.

In a standard headache, the blood vessels in the head contract. In a migraine, the blood vessels expand so much that it not only causes horrible pain, but so much blood is getting to certain parts of the brain that the senses of sight and hearing become painfully sharpened.

There are also different types of migraines. I experience what they call migraine with aura. "Aura" is not some pleasant colorful glow around the human form in this case, but a visual distortion similar to when you see spots after someone takes your picture with the flash on. Only it can grow so large that it creates tunnel vision or blocks out half your vision, and it's nauseating just to think about it.

Aura is created because the blood vessels are contracting so much that certain parts of your brain are not getting enough blood flow, depriving it of enough oxygen to function properly. Yes, I know it sounds terrifying. One time, I was calmly reading a book when suddenly I found that I could no longer read. I was looking at the words on the page, and they made no sense to me. I had completely lost the ability to read. I freaked out for a few minutes, thinking brain tumor. I was immensely relieved when the visual distortion appeared and I realized that I was just having a migraine! Hahahahahahahahaha!

I read somewhere that a doctor once said migraines are so traumatic to the brain that they should, but all scientific logic, cause brain damage. It seems logical to me, as well. But here I am.

So if someone ever tells you they're having a migraine, shut the hell up, turn down the lights, and put a goddamn bucket by their bed. And keep shutting up. Seriously.

This has been a fucking public service announcement.


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